I love entertaining people at our house. I think I got that from my parents who always had friends and family over to our house growing up for pool parties or dinners or just for no reason. Somehow, my mom always made it seem so effortless. She still does to this day even with 30 people coming over for a holiday with babies running around all over the place.
Since I started having my own parties for different events, I realized that my mom only made it seem easy. It can be so stressful. The food, cleaning, making sure everyone has a good time. It’s a lot.
We had Nolan’s 1st birthday party recently, and I have been thinking about the things I’ve learned that make having parties less stressful and easier to enjoy. Here they are! Take one or two of these ideas and have fun at your next party!
- Don’t try to do everything yourself! I’m guilty of thinking I can do everything myself to prepare for a party, but that just adds so much unnecessary stress. When people offer to help, accept their help! If they don’t offer, ask! An extra set of hands to clear plates or refill the ice bucket makes such a difference. Having someone bring food can be a life saver too.
- Always start the party with an empty dishwasher! I can’t stand having dirty dishes in the kitchen sink when we are just home relaxing let alone when we are having a party. Starting with an empty dishwasher gives me extra space to put dirty dishes during the party and also encourages you to clean up little things throughout the party.
- Plan ahead! I try to plan my menu a few weeks ahead of time so I can prepare. I start buying the groceries that I need a week or so before. The day or two before the party, I put out my serving dishes where I want them to be during the party to make sure I have a place for all the food. One less thing to think about! Anything you can make the night before, do it! Dips, chopping vegetables, all those things are quick will make the day of your party easier.
- Don’t make all of the food. I obviously love to cook, but that doesn’t mean cooking for 20 or more people is always enjoyable. Having a party is enough to think about. It’s ok to cater the main dishes, ask someone to bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert. Refer to #2. 🙂 For Nolan’s party, we catered the entrees, my mom brought an appetizer and my sister brought a dessert. Just those things made my day so much easier.
- Wear something you feel great in. There are so many things to worry about when hosting a party. What you wear shouldn’t be one of them. Choose an outfit that you feel really great in ahead of time. Worrying about it the day of the party is too much. Not to mention, pulling on your shirt or thinking about whether or not you look good is such a terrible feeling. Of all days, make sure you plan an outfit you love for party day.
- Straighten before, clean after. Why should I spend hours cleaning every inch of my house just to have people come in with their shoes on, dropping crumbs everywhere? Not happening. I make everything look presentable ahead of time. Maybe not scrub the floors. Then, after the great party where everyone enjoys themselves, I then get into crazy cleaning mode.
The goal really is to do things to make sure you enjoy your own party just like everyone else!